The Prinsendam is twenty years old and you can see it in her elegant furnishings, teak decks and walk in closets. It is also somewhat apparent in the occasional overly worn cushions or rusted spots. This didn't in any compromise my amazing vacation on this small, elegant ship. My room was fine - it was quite a bit forward but this didn't bother me unless the seas were significantly rough. We were lucky and only experienced this on two occasions. The room stewards were fantastic - really efficient and friendly.
I ate in the Lido, La Fontaine dining room and the Pinnacle Grill. Lido was fine - nothing special though an hour sitting on that aft deck is quite nice. Yes - they got rid of trays. By doing so, according to one report, they've saved about 38% in food waste - significant and I approve. There was always a waiter with a tray happy to help me cart my goodies. La Fontaine was fine - we had really consistent service and no complaints. Yuli, my little favorite guy always had a huge smile and can-do attitude. The Pinnacle was special - superb service, delectable filet mignon, attentive wine steward... I didn't love the lobster bisque or the souffle but can't win them all.
Day two was a lovely sea day spent lazing on deck and exploring the small ship. Note, the bingo calls were typically only once a day - either in the morning or the afternoon, depending on when the event was taking place. It was included in the culinary center, putt putt golf and spa specials announcements and in no way affected my enjoyment of my own pursuits. Anyone that tells you different is just a grump!
I visited the spa one time, taking advantage of an in port special. Jo was my massage therapist - she was very thorough and I felt great when I left her. Sam was my stylist...she did a great wash and blow out and my hair looked nice after she was done.
The wine policy is glorious - I bought wine in every port and consumed it in my room or on deck. Christopher in the gift shop was helpful and wrapped up the remaining bottles for transport home - I managed to get 8 back to Los Angeles!
Sea days were my favorites...the transatlantic crossing was really something special and I'd love to do it again. We had beautiful weather, smooth seas and lovely sunshine. It was all such a gift!
I wanted to mention a few specifics - Embarkation was a breeze - I was basically hand-held through the procedure. Internet is EXPENSIVE...$100 for 250 minutes. Crew pays only $20 for 250 minutes so HAL clearly makes big bucks here. My bags were never checked - I was known to buy wine but it was easy to bring vodka on board from a port too. One of my tablemates bought beer each port too. Brendan in the Explorations Cafe was fantastic - very friendly and one of the few people on board close to my age :) Entertainment was better than I expected...if you have the opportunity to see Aaron Shaw, Tenor or "The Unexpected Boys", do so - they're great performers who put a lot into their crafts.
The casino is so small...but it has craps, roulette, black jack, Texas hold 'em and slots. It was never crowded when I was there. Smoking wasn't a problem - I would say of the 700 passengers, maybe 30-40 smoked? They stuck to their side of the lido and there was never an issue that I could see. The crow's nest is nice - a great bow view with cushy chairs for reading or gazing. If you want a fridge, ask them to empty the honor bar - I did and enjoyed chilled drinks the whole trip - no cost.
Everyone works hard to please - they all smile (with the exception of the ice cream guy...) and seem happy to be there. I had such a fantastic time, no complaints, though there were initial hiccups with my room, I wish to make this a positive review of HAL in the Prinsendam.